Pictures At An Exhibition
by King Baldwin
King Baldwin's Pictures At An Exhibition is both classical and rock, both cover and rewrite, and continues the lineage of reframing Mussorgsky's famous classical work through rock and pop lenses. The piece has been referenced in tv and film - The Mighty Boosh, Burn After Reading, Looney Tunes, The Big Lebowski, even (yes) WrestleMania III. It's also been sampled by the likes of Michael Jackson and, most notably, covered/rewritten as a prog epic by Emerson, Lake and Palmer in the 70s.
This Pictures At An Exhibition is a set of original songs inspired by and built upon Mussorgsky's thematic, conceptual, melodic, and harmonic content: King Baldwin has recreated each Picture with the combined contributions of a dead drunken Russian genius and two very-alive classically-trained songwriters, Gabe Turow and Alexander Eccles.
Alexander learned and performed Pictures At An Exhibition during high school. He listened only to classical music at that time, so finding Mussorgsky's weird, unruly, awesome stuff was tantamount to a kid's favorite band releasing a new album. Alexander remembers his favorite parts of the piece being the hymnal that appears twice in the concluding Great Gate Of Kiev, The Old Castle, and Baba Yaga. He also recalls not hitting a single right note in Baba Yaga (let's be fair: it's the piano-playing equivalent of sleeping on a bed of sledgehammers).
Around 2014, Gabe and Alexander began discussing the idea to make a rock album wholly indebted to Pictures At An Exhibition. The composition, instrumentation, and lyrics all had to straddle the old and new and do so with a blend of obviousness and subtlety: Mussorgsky melodies become riffs; the band rocks yet is orchestral; and the lyrics adapt archaic imagery to modern ideas and problems. The whole project was and is pretty unusual, but Mussorgsky was self-taught and loved breaking the rules, so King Baldwin would like to think we have his blessing.
Alexander Eccles (Piano, Vocals, Production)
Gabe Turow (Drums, Keyboards, Production)
Zach Ostroff (Bass)
Dylan Haas (Sax, Guitars, Vocals, Production)
Duncan Lindsay (Guitars)
Paul Hanson (Bassoon)
Brendan Ahern (Vocals)
Debbie Neigher (Vocals)
Jay Pellicci (Engineering, Production)
Alan Douches (Mastering)
listen to the original Pictures At An Exhibition on piano,
and compare each movement to our version:
About King Baldwin
King Baldwin is an art-rock project helmed by Alexander Eccles and Gabe Turow, who met as undergrads at Stanford University. They've been making weird music together for more than a decade, with Alex leading the song-writing and Gabe supporting with arrangements and production.
Alexander Eccles is a classical pianist, music teacher, and singer/songwriter. He was raised on Beethoven sonatas and Chopin etudes and knew nothing of popular music until college. He is currently co-writing a musical about a dating app run by Satan.
Gabe is a percussionist trained in classical, jazz, and afrobeat. He is an educational game designer by day, drummer by night, and published author on music's effect on the brain. He helped establish the music therapy program at San Francisco Children's Hospital, and is currently designing an art-and-music-infused videogame about the Declaration of Independence with Harvard University and Amplify Education.